Fast Company Article Summary April 2000 : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

Fast Company Article Summary

April 2000

Tim Everson

After reading Cathy Olofsons article Show Me - Dont Tell Me in the April 2000 issue of Fast Company, I felt as though it sort of summed up our research paper. Cathy talks about how Backroads, a company located in California that leads excursions to more than 100 destinations. These excursions include biking and hiking trips.

According to Marcy Porus who is vice president of operations for the company, their customers have high expectations so it is very important that Backroads has the best possible people to lead the trips. Leadership qualities seem to be one of the most important attributes that a successful group leader can have. The quality of leadership is one that is not easily measured by simply interviewing them. The company has come up with a means of interviewing that involves having the 100 final candidates gather for a two day period at a campground where the finalists are involved in role-playing and problem solving exercises. Porus says that they end up hiring between 35% and 50% of the finalists. She says that they select candidates with complete confidence after this outing.

Our research topic is creating electronic portfolios for the purpose of authentic assessment. This is exactly what the two day outing is for the finalists. We created a curriculum that will have our students completing electronic portfolios in which they will be including artifacts that show how they met selected standards. In addition, the students will be including a reflection in which they explain why they chose to include the artifact and why it shows that the student met the standard. This requires the student to think about what it is they are supposed to be accomplishing and also how they are going to accomplish it. The student reflects on their learning process.

The completed electronic portfolio will allow the students to be evaluated on what they can actually do, not just on how well they do on selected assignments or tests. The students will actually be showing the process that they went through to attain the goal or standard. According to many specialists on electronic portfolios, the whole concept of electronic portfolios is more emphasis on process and less emphasis on product.

Much like the finalists that were invited by Backroads to come to the Leader Hiring Event, our students will be given the ability to show what they can actually do and explain how and why they did it the way they did. I think that the method of interviewing that the Backroads company is using is fantastic. I would like to see it used in more instances. I also think that the use of electronic portfolios as a means of authentic assessment is also fantastic. As we work through our first year using electronic portfolios, it will be interesting to see how the process goes. I hope that the students gain a greater feeling of accomplishment by being evaluated on what they can actually do and not just by how well they do on a test.

-- Anonymous, March 21, 2000

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